The IFP is concerned about the recent series of shootings that have claimed many lives, due to alleged drug trade and tender squabbles in Imbali township, extending to the Pietermaritzburg CBD.
The communities of Imbali township have been left traumatised and afraid for their lives. This drug trade-related war has resulted in shooting sprees in broad daylight amongst gangs, in the presence of innocent community members and school children.
The gangsterism that is currently engulfing Imbali 1, 2 and 3 has left the neighbouring communities helpless and fearful of leaving their homes to go to work, as the township has become a war zone. The IFP has learned that more than 13 people have been killed in the recent shootings. This past week, communities witnessed more than four people being shot dead, and the gunfight extended to the CBD, where two more men were shot in the congested streets of Pietermaritzburg.
The IFP wants to draw attention to this dangerous situation, before it spills over into other communities. What is even more concerning, is that some law-enforcement officers are allegedly part of the gangsters’ operations, and are allegedly on the drug kingpin’s payrolls.
We call upon the newly-appointed MEC of Community Safety and Liaison, Hon. Peggy Nkonyeni, to work closely with the National Minister of Police, Hon. Bheki Cele, to attend to the situation with the urgency it deserves, as more and more people are living in fear. We call for an urgent rollout of additional law enforcement by establishing area-based teams in neighbourhoods most affected by these shootings. These teams must also deal decisively with the issue of illegal firearms in the hands of criminals.
Furthermore, the allegations of police officers being involved in the drug trade and trafficking must be investigated, and guilty parties must be identified and brought to book urgently.
We hope that the leadership in the Department will prioritise this matter before it claims the lives of more innocent people and children who now fear going to school and work, as these killings happen right on their doorsteps.
Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL
IFP Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal